How to Attract Beautiful People by Being Yourself

“What are you up to this weekend? Maybe we can hang out?”

What do normal people do in situations like this? Blink? I tried to keep blinking. But as I wrote down the number of the woman standing in front of me, my visibly shaking hands made it pretty clear that I was a 10 out of 10 on the frazzled scale.

“Sorry about that. I haven’t had a drink yet today,” I joked.

“Don’t worry,” she replied with a smile. “I’m nervous also. I never thought the first person I’d ever ask out would be an American giving a seminar at my office. But my friends told me I needed to be more proactive when meeting guys I think are interesting.”

Wait.
What?
On a Monday?
Before lunch?
Was this for real?

I’d moved to Barcelona six months earlier with the hopes that being the opposite of the tall, dark, and horribly ripped men around me would help me to stand out. Up until that point, however, that strategy hadn’t worked out very well as my eighth-grade height and easily burned skin hadn’t won many eyes. But this was my chance. And if you had asked me to draw my dream, the woman standing in front of me checked a lot of boxes.

Dark wavy hair. Check.
Dark eyes. Check.
Doesn’t seem to mind that I’m uncool. Check.

After we gave each other a surprisingly smooth kiss on each cheek in typical Catalan fashion — and caught each other turning around to get one last glimpse of each other as I walked away from her office — I thought for sure I’d have to screw up pretty badly to mess up this gorgeous opportunity.

So after getting some well-deserved shit for waiting until Thursday afternoon to reach out to her to make plans, we set a date for that Saturday at 9pm at a place I’d been a few times before with friends.

The rest of that evening, after getting confirmation that this wasn’t a cruel joke, for one of the few times in my life I stood taller than six feet. But this feeling of invincibility didn’t last long. By the time of our date, my excitement had officially made the turn to nerves and I’d run out of ideas for how to get my left leg to stop twitching so god damn much.

“What do Catalan women like?”

“What if I’m not it?”

“Oh God! I have to go back to her office Monday for work! What if I make a fool of myself?”

These questions flooded my head.

To make matters worse, when it came time to get ready, my roommate, Josh, in his sometimes charming but otherwise annoying Mississippi drawl, said over and over again with each outfit I tried on— “It’s going to take more than a clean shirt to make you pretty!”

8:41.
8:42.
8:43.

“Best not be late, pretty boy!” Josh said with a smirk. “Death is waiting.”

And with that tremendous pep-talk, I gave myself one last look in the mirror, adjusted the safe solid black T-shirt I had decided to go with, and stepped outside to make the 100 meters walk to either meet — or destroy — my destiny.


As she made her way up the steps from the train station, a rare sense of pride washed over me when watching her walk towards me.

She smiled.

My eyes lit up.

We did the double-kiss cheek thing again without tripping over each other.

“You’re beautiful,” I said as my arm moved down her back after our embrace. “I’d wanted to ask you out since our first conversation. But since this is one of my first jobs I was worried I’d be fired for hitting on a client.”

She laughed.

I relaxed.

She looked up at me — still smiling — I thought for sure the look in her eyes meant that she was just as happy to see me as I was to see her. But just as my hopes began to touch the clouds, they were smacked down onto the pavement when she said the words that shatter more men’s dreams than any other — “But we’re just friends, right?”

Wait.
What?
Why?

Just friends? Did I really just hear that?

My mind raced trying to make sense of what had just happened.

What was with the all “interesting” talk?

What about the look back?

Not to mention the fact that she asked me if I wanted to hang out?

I stood there outside the metro station as cars whipped by completely and utterly stoned. How did I get all of her signals so wrong? So terribly wrong? I’m an idiot. My friends were going to love this one.

Oblivious to my confusion, the beautiful woman was still staring at me — smiling — and just as nonchalantly as she crushed my heart, she said, “What’s the plan? I’m starving!”

“Excuse me?” I stumbled, trying to give myself a bit of a buffer to better recover after being run over by the 5-foot 1-inch Catalan woman standing in front of me.

“What’s the plan? I’m starving!” she said again. “You said on the phone the reservation was for 9, right?”

After letting out what can only be described as a grunt, I did what I could to pull myself together and point in the direction of the restaurant.


Thank God I followed the advice of a friend and made plans to meet at the metro station instead of being trapped inside a restaurant in case we had an awkward moment.

As we walked down the shadowy streets we both laughed a little while I loosened up a lot.

By the time we got to the restaurant, something about knowing that I had lost the game before it had even started had put me at ease and I stopped being the “me” I thought she wanted me to be — and I started to act like myself.

I asked her about her life and was in awe of all the places she had been.

She told me about a breakup that happened a few years prior that she hadn’t seen coming.

She told me that she too felt alone in the big city despite it being an hour from her home.

When it came to talking about me, and what I was doing in Barcelona, instead of trying to be cool and telling her I wanted to see the world, I told her the truth.

I told her about how I had lost everything I had when my business partner’s dad stole $250,000 from me.

I told her that I had been in a bad place.

I told her I moved to Catalunya on a whim to try and find my smile again.

It felt good.

Talking to someone.

Letting someone in.

At times, I even thought that we’d made a connection. But with the thought of “We’re just friends” still beating through my head, I let it pass.

I continued to smile.

She continued to laugh.

Five hours passed.

After closing down the restaurant and having a drink at a dive bar next door, we made our way to the metro for her to go one way and me another.

The night had been perfect.

She was perfect.

I felt the biting urge to kiss her again as we stood next to the steps that led down to her train. But I didn’t dare. The last thing I wanted to do with whatever we had going on was risk being friends with this beautiful person.

The next thing I knew, just when I was about to walk away, she grabbed my hand, looked up at me, and with people shuffling past us on the corner of Passeig de Gracia and Corsega — she made the first move again by giving me a kiss that I can still taste today.

Whoa!

Wait!

What?

“I thought we were just friends?” I said, after coming back down from the clouds and tucking a loose strand of her wavy black hair behind her ear.

“Oh, No!” she laughed. “You thought I was serious? I was just saying that in case someone from the office saw us out together.”


In a few weeks, that beautiful woman and I will celebrate our ninth year of marriage.

I’m convinced — with every ounce of my being — that our magical lives together never would have existed if she hadn’t said that we were just friends when we started our date.

It shifted my thinking from looking for play to not thinking about anything else but having a good time together.

Just like men, different women are attracted to different things.

But from my experience, even if you’re lost and desperately trying to make ends meet, your best chance at getting who you want is by being yourself.

It’s who you’re going to be anyway.

So what’s the point in delaying the inevitable?

What Happens When You Finally Choose to Stop

If some Costa Rican wearing a “Pura Vida” t-shirt hadn’t stolen most of my money, we never would have met.

If some Italian hadn’t made a massive mistake and told her he needed a break, we never would have met.

If I hadn’t taken what little money I had left to buy a one-way ticket to Barcelona, we never would have met.

If she hadn’t gone to Dublin and worked odd jobs to learn English, we never would have met. 

If I hadn’t.
If she hadn’t. 

I think about that a lot. Our big decisions. The supposed bad things that happened in our lives. All those twists and turns that ultimately led to the two of us standing next to each other on the corner of La Rambla and Passeig de Colom that October day. 

It was grey outside. I’d just finished giving a workshop at her office. The streets were still wet. “Can I tag along for lunch?” she asked while hugging her jean jacket. “I know a nice spot.” 

So just like that, the two of us began to make our way through the narrow city streets. And as soon as we did, in between small talk and nervous laughter on my part, a few rays of October sun beat through the 48-hour wall of clouds, and when it did, in one fluid motion, this comfortable stranger stopped, tilted back her head, closed her eyes, and smiled.

It lasted only a few seconds. But sometimes that’s enough. At that moment, something told me that her story and my story would turn into our story. I had a feeling that my life would begin and end with her. 

I think about that a lot. Her power to speed up my heart while simultaneously slow down my breathing. The idea that the only way to experience the moments that stop the world is by taking the time to appreciate the world. 

I would have scoffed at that thought prior to meeting her. Tossed it aside as something a hippy would say. But it’s now the one thing in life I no longer question. That was our moment. Everyone else had disappeared. The taxi drivers stopped blaring their horns. The city shouts faded to mute. It was just the two of us. Her smiling at the sun. My eyes frozen open in awe of her. We’d both hit a few bumps. I’d definitely lost more than a few inches of footing. Shattered confidence. Broken relationships. Hiding behind chemical masks. But her choice to soak in all the good in the world led me to see all the beauty in the world. 

I think about that a lot. How fate isn’t a person or a destination but rather a choice. How it doesn’t take much to change your life. How none of the defining moments of my life came with a plan. How simple the best things in life can be. Someone said something or did something that anyone walking by would miss or deem inconsequential. But I was fully alive at that moment to see it and present enough to know I had to hold on to it.

A glass of water
A peach
Pockets of sun. 

Everything we need is right in front of us. 

It’s all there for the taking. 

All you need to do is stop. 


Thank you for reading.
My very best to you and yours.
Michael

The Night the Drums Began to Play

“I wanna go to the park! I wanna go to the park! Why can’t we go to the park?”

Life as we knew it ended on March 15th of last year. At least it did here in Spain. It was the first day of forty that my two kids didn’t see a blade of grass. It’s hard to believe my youngest has lived close to half his life inside this mess.

I’ve been trying to think about what was going through my head that day. I’m guessing it wasn’t very good. Probably something about how I was gonna survive being locked inside a small apartment with two young kids. We played Uno. I remember that for sure. The times we lose are harder to forget.

“The world’s comin’ to an end!
We might as well play some cards!”

It was raining that first day. I remember that too. The days were getting longer. But it wasn’t quite Spring. I remember that because it was dark that night at 8 o’clock when the drums began to play.

It started with my neighbor. Banging his kit and blowing his whistle on his terrace just like he does with the band he leads during street festivals. Funny seeing him out there drummin’ hard into the steady rain. He was lit up for sure. Hand-rolled cigarette dangling out one side of his mouth. Shit-eating grin creeping outta the other. While people were busy hoarding toilet paper, I saw Migue over the weekend with a shopping cart in the elevator stacked with plastic bottles of rum and cases of the Bud Light of Spain. Quirky guy. But smart. As long as you have running water you can always keep your ass clean. But it’s tougher to make booze.

“The world’s comin’ to an end!
We might as well load up on double-ply!”

But I wasn’t thinking about that when the drums began to play. Because once Migue found his beat, the whole town joined in. We couldn’t make out many faces. But we knew they were there. Some were banging pots. Others hitting pans. Some even blew those damn annoying things you see at South American football matches that sound like a make-shift bomb just exploded. I remember that because as soon as the first one went off our youngest began to cry.

“The world’s comin’ to an end!
We might as well scare the shit outta people!”

But that didn’t last too long. It was my neighbor’s drum solo that moved everyone to stop. I don’t think he came up for air for a good four minutes. He was in a zone. Totally outta body. I think he must’ve blacked out. He doesn’t handle the 34 steps in our apartment building too well when the elevator’s out. But he sure has stamina when it comes to beatin’ a drum. The magical power of the Bud Light of Spain.

“The world’s comin’ to an end!
We might as well drink cheap!”

I don’t remember much from that first day. But I do remember those ten minutes. Or at least how I want to remember those ten minutes. It was supposed to be a thank you to the people working in hospitals. That first night, though, was for all of us. Catalans. Moroccans. Chinese. Americans. Poles. For a moment, we were all the same. Neighbors making art. The making of music once again bringin’ people together. We all cheered when Migue’s solo was done. Said goodnight to each other. Waved to each other when the sun came up. Smiled even. “Necesitas algo? Are you doing okay?”

“The world’s comin’ to an end!
We might as well see if we can help each other!”

The next few days the numbers got bigger. Over the next few weeks, we learned first-hand they’re not as scary as the small ones. It’s the small numbers that hurt. It’s the small numbers that we’ll remember. Nine is our number. Family friends. Parents of neighbors. Friends of friends. Burly men shaking uncontrollably in empty garages because they couldn’t say goodbye to their moms. How unnatural it felt to stop ourselves from giving them something as natural as a hug. We made a lot of phone calls those first days. I’m thinking about the people I first reached out to. Those that took the time to reach out to me. A dozen people. Family. Friends.

They’re the ones worth holding on to.

They’re the ones that matter.

I’m beginning to forget all the details of those first few days. But I still see flashes. Phone calls. Uno. Waving at neighbors. The Bud Light of Spain. Glasses of water. Blacked out drum solos.

“The world’s coming to an end!
We might as well look for moments of beauty inside the chaos!”


Thank you for reading.
My very best to you and yours.
Michael

How to Make Friends as an Adult

The two men waiting outside my apartment were an unlikely duo. Ishmael, the leader of the two, was a former cop, while his side-kick, Ventura, had the look and laugh of a seasoned criminal.

“Come on up,” I yelled through the intercom. “The front door’s open.” Then, as if I was preparing for a first date, I gave myself one last look in the mirror before making sure the coffee I’d made and the chocolate croissants I’d bought were arranged perfectly on my kitchen table.

Normally, I wouldn’t have gone to such extremes to accommodate a couple of guys I’d contracted to renovate the bathrooms in the apartment my wife and I had bought a few months prior. Being that we’d just moved to a new town in Spain though — and I was working from home and hadn’t yet met many new people—their non-stop banter over the preceding weeks had become a welcome reprieve from my normally lonely workdays.

But the moment Ishmael handed me the invoice and we said our goodbyes, a deep sadness washed over me. “Is this what it’s come down to?” I wondered to myself. “Is this what happens when you decide to work fully remote? You get excited about paying two handymen to install a new toilet in order to get a dose of human connection?”

At that very moment, I knew something needed to change.

If I was going to make my new town feel like home, I’d have to get off my ass and make some new friends — or at least a few that didn’t charge me for their time.

Fortunately, this wasn’t the first instance where I’ve had this revelation. As a constant-mover who’s lived across three continents and in nine different cities or towns over the last two decades, I’ve become pretty good at quickly making friends in new places.

In fact, despite growing up painfully shy with a debilitating stutter, making connections both online and off is a big part of my job—to the tune where I just wrapped up a manuscript on this very topic for my book publisher.

If you’re like me and believe life is best when shared, here are some tips and tactics I’ve picked up on my journey that may help you on your own.

I recently read an article about someone challenging themselves to talk to one stranger a day for a month. I’ve got nothing against doing this as it has done wonders for some of my friends. But it’s not for me. Instead of potentially pushing myself onto someone, I prefer to put myself in a position that pulls people into my world.

For example, rather than going directly to other parents at my kid’s school to strike up a conversation, shortly after moving to my new town, I began playing daily football (soccer) games with my two boys and their classmates in our local park. In the span of a month, despite all the other parents initially sitting on park benches staring at their phones, two dads joined in.

A year later, one of those guys is my closest friend here, while the other is my bi-weekly running partner. On top of this, countless parents have come up to me after the games to say hi. Each morning after dropping my kids off at school, I make a point to continue the conversation with a few of them — a handful of whom have moved past mere acquaintances to become my weekly hiking partners.

Maybe you don’t have kids. Or maybe you don’t like football. But think about ways to get yourself in front of people on your own terms while doing something you enjoy.

This one simple act of getting on the field instead of sitting on the sidelines has done more for my social life than just about any other thing I’ve done.

When my wife moved from her hometown at the base of the Pyrenees to Barcelona, she took an introduction to belly-dancing class as a way to meet people. Even though she initially felt ridiculous, she quickly learned she wasn’t alone. After each class, she and the other women bonded over how uncomfortable they felt over drinks at the bar next store to the academy.

When we try new things, we often feel out of place — like we’re the only ones who are experiencing feelings of self-doubt or flat-out embarrassment.

But this is rarely the case.

This is for the simple fact that other people are also trying something new and are most likely filled with these same feelings.

What’s something you’ve always wanted to do or learn more about but haven’t made it a priority? Maybe it’s taking up yoga? Or learning a new language?

Being brave enough to put yourself out into the world and having the stones to laugh at yourself and admit you don’t have all the right moves in these circumstances, has a funny way of attracting the right people to you.

The first day at my kid’s school I saw this guy bouncing around saying hello to just about every parent around. I assumed he was born and raised in the town, but to my surprise, he and his family had just moved here as well.

When the two of us eventually crossed paths one day at a cafe, I asked him how he learned to work crowds like Obama. “The first thing I did when I moved here was I volunteered to be a part of the parent’s association at school,” he replied. “In a matter of a few weeks, I’d met not only the other volunteers but also their partners.”

Since that encounter, a few days a week, after dropping off my kids and his eldest daughter at school, I walk with him and his youngest daughter to her pre-school. Most mornings though, we aren’t alone as being that the guy is a magnet, other parents have joined in making it easy for me to get to know them.

We often overestimate how hard it is to make friends while underestimating how impactful focusing on making one new friend can be.

Hitching yourself to a community insider can seriously help you to feel like less of an outsider.

One of my best childhood friends, Bart, may very well be the best friendship maker and retainer I’ve met. His go-to tactics? When spending time with his friends, he makes a point to schedule their next hang-out before parting ways to ensure they stay in regular contact, and most of all, he organizes recurring meetups.

This past summer, stealing a line from Bart, I invited a group of people I’d connected with throughout the year to get together every Tuesday evening throughout July and August at the same spot on the beach while encouraging them to bring their families and friends.

The first week I was nervous no one would show up, but to my relief, over a dozen people were there before I even arrived. The number one reason people told me they came? They too were looking for an excuse to be more sociable — and since the meetup was at the beach where people were coming and going — it made the ever-important 10 percent hurdle when doing something new easy to cross.

Why not organize a hike in your area for every other Saturday with the people you are meeting? Or a dinner party or game night with some of the people you are meeting if you enjoy those things?

If you know someone who will most likely say yes, you can team up with them beforehand so you aren’t going at it alone.

When I began my career in sales, after every call my manager would run over to me and say, “Is the person you just spoke with married? What’s their spouse’s name? Do they have kids? Tell me you heard a dog barking in the background. I love dogs! What’s his dog’s name? Come on Mike, you gotta know this stuff!”

I will never forget this lesson. But instead of just applying it to work, over the years, I’ve built the habit of taking notes about the people I come into contact with on the street as well.

It’s hard to not like someone who checks in on your elderly mother who’s struggling with health issues or any other challenges they’re facing. The same goes for remembering their kids’ names or any of the other details they’ve mentioned.

Just last month, I told my friend Agatha, a Polish woman, how much I loved perogies from the time I lived in Warsaw. Shortly thereafter, she made a batch for me and my family — which made all of us like her that much more.

Make the effort to jot down the “little things” people say in passing and put in the effort to follow up.

When it comes to making new friends, the details aren’t the details — the details are the thing.

A few years ago, during a particularly stressful time, I told my coach Justin how guilty I felt about prioritizing work over my family. His recommendation was so simple it’s genius. “On Sunday nights, before thinking about your work, get your non-negotiable family time on your calendar first.” He went on to add that maybe this looks like blocking off an hour or even thirty minutes each afternoon to play with my kids before dinner or choosing to make one of my weekend days tech-free.

When it comes to making new friends, the same rule applies — you have to make it a priority.

Block off just an hour a week to get involved in your community. Take a class on something you’ve always wanted to learn. Put yourself in positions to attract people who have similar interests. Maybe this bites into your work time, or if you’re self-employed, even your finances.

But you have to ask yourself, “What matters most?”

I’ve reached the stage of my life where no matter what country, city, or town I’m living in — it’s not the place that makes it feel like home — but the people.


Thank you for reading.
— Michael

How You Make a Lasting Impression on Someone’s Life

“Is that a mouse?”

In an instant, the normally well-behaved children went bananas. Some jumped on their desks. Others yelled at the top of their lungs. Others were too scared to do anything at all.

Quick on her feet, the teacher set up a plan to catch the mouse. But between all the commotion and the mouse’s uncanny ability to move quickly and quietly, no matter how hard she tried, she came up empty-handed.

Unsure what to do, the teacher took a second to gather her thoughts, and to the surprise of the other children, she then enlisted the help of a quiet little boy named Stevie Morris to lend her a hand.

“What’s Stevie going to do?” one of the boys yelled, “He’s blind! He can’t see me let alone a fast little mouse!”

But the teacher paid no mind to the boy and doubled-down on the one quality Little Stevie possessed that many of his young classmates didn’t — a tremendous set of ears.

Within seconds, once the class finally obeyed the teacher’s soft hush, Little Stevie identified where the mouse was hiding and for the first time in his life, he learned first-hand what it felt like to be the classroom hero. 

Decades later, while being interviewed, Little Stevie said that day marked the first time someone had shown appreciation for what he had instead of focusing on what he didn’t. He then went on to give a nod to his teacher for kick-starting his life. From that day forward, Little Stevie went on the offensive and threw all his energy into developing the gifts he was given instead of spending his days feeling sorry for himself.

Years later, this decision would pay off as that quiet little boy became one of the most influential musicians the world has ever known.

If the name Stevie Morris doesn’t ring a bell, maybe you’ll recognize his stage name — Stevie Wonder.

See people.

I love that story. It’s one of my favorites. I especially love Stevie’s teacher. She noticed him. She lifted him to higher ground. Instead of opting for the obvious, she leaned into the overlooked and created a space that allowed him to walk comfortably into the spotlight. As a result, despite being blind, Little Stevie was able to see. Because she took the time to first see him.

How often do you do that? Really notice people? Actually take the time to look for the good in the people in front of you? Doing what you can to bring those qualities out into the world so other people can see them too?

It sounds so simple — but that’s how you impact someone. That’s how you leave a lasting impression on someone’s life. You look where others aren’t. You see something small — or even invisible to the untrained eye — and you make the person in front of you feel bigger than they did before.

I screwed up the first impression with a man whose work I really admire. I wasn’t ready to meet with him. I knew it. He knew it. I wasted his time. I thought for sure I’d never hear from him again.

A few months later, he stumbled upon my secret blog. He left a comment for me to keep at it. A few months later, he did it again. Except for this time, he told me that what I wrote was great.

He mentioned me in a few of his videos after I showed up a little better when we met for round two. He said I was talented. A good thinker. He told me I’m a good person to spend an afternoon with.

It’s hard to explain when someone who doesn’t have to do something, does something. But you feel it a lot. 

I was 38 years old at the time. A grown man. I’d just fallen in love with writing but I didn’t know where to take it. I don’t know what I’d be doing today if he’d done what a lot of people do and move on after someone does something wrong.

Sticking with me helped clear my vision. 

His simple actions gave me confidence. 

His simple words made me feel bigger than I’d felt before.

But you don’t need to be in a position of power to make yours count. 

Why not leave a comment on an article for someone with potential telling them to keep at it? Why not send a message to someone you can see trying but struggling? Why not get on a call with someone you noticed something in? 

We’re talking about a minimal-time investment. Two-minutes here. Thirty-minutes there. You may find that the words you say and the actions you display impact them like Little Stevie’s teacher did for him or like that man did for me.

That’s the beauty of words. That’s their power. You never know where they may take someone. Two minutes of your time. A thoughtful comment. A much-needed message.

Maybe they don’t result in much. But maybe they do.

Maybe they even serve as the tipping point for someone to go all-in. 

Maybe when asked about the people that built them up, they think of you and say your name.


Thank you for reading.
— Michael

Want to Improve Your Relationships? Stop Following Your Gut

I remember the exact moment my life went on the offensive. I was in my apartment in Barcelona complaining to my dad about my first world problems. But before I could really get going he stopped me and said, “Michael, shut up and go buy that beautiful wife of yours some flowers.”

I had heard a million times the key to happiness was getting out of our own heads and doing what we could to place ourselves in the hearts of others. However, something about the matter of fact way my dad said it compelled me to finally internalize it, such that I could put the advice into action.

Later that day I went out and bought my beautiful wife some flowers. Upon receiving them, she wasn’t the only person smiling. So was I.

If I could go back in time and tell my 20 year-old self advice that would make my life easier, my dad’s words would top the list. This is because they made me realise the fastest way to immediately improve the quality of my own life was by doing something to improve the quality of someone else’s.

I’ve come to think of these paradoxical acts of empathy as ‘switches.’ And ever since, I’ve been collecting and utilizing those which improve my relationships. Here are the most impactful.

Tell people you like them instead of worrying about if they like you:

In the book, “Influence,” author Robert Cialdini tells the story of Joe Girard, the world’s greatest car salesman. Cialdini was eager to learn how Joe had separated himself from the competition and set out to learn his secrets.

To Cialdini’s surprise he found a simple man that grew his business by embracing one simple aspect of human behaviour: most people will like you if you first show them how much you like them.

Every month, no matter what he had going on, Joe sat down and sent out a personalised handwritten letter to each one of his clients. He asked about their children by name. He followed up regarding any celebration or devastation. In short, he showed his clients he cared about them. As a result, his clients cared about him.

The next time you are thinking about letting someone know how much they mean to you, steal a line from Joe and just do it.

My mom got it dead right — “People like it when you are nice to them.”

Ask the people around you what they believe instead of saying “I believe”:

When it comes to building relationships another aspect of human behaviour that often gets overlooked is most people would rather talk about themselves than listen to someone else talk about themselves. Use this nugget of information to your advantage and approach each conversation as a chance to learn something you don’t already know.

Setting up a punishment clause every time you catch yourself saying “I believe” before asking the person in front of you what they believe is a good place to start.

My friend Brian Pennie got it dead right — “Nobody cares what you think. So stop talking so damn much.”

Put your own to-do list aside and take notes on what the people around you want to do:

Most people wake up and immediately think about what they have to do. However, those who start their day thinking about how they can improve the lives of the people around them win.

One of the easiest ways to make this switch is by taking five minutes in the morning to write down the happenings of the people you care about.

Do you know someone who’s going on an interview today?

What about someone who’s having a rough go of things?

How do you think these people would feel if you reached out to give them a boost?

Long lasting relationships are sealed with little consistent actions. Taking the time to prioritize others in the morning and doing what you can throughout the day to support them is a bullet-proof way to ensure your relationships stay strong.

My best friend from home got it dead right — “If you want to be supported, it sure helps if you start by doing the heavy lifting.”

Every time you want to complain to someone ask them for their best piece of life advice:

Despite the fact that most people don’t like complainers, most people complain. So remove yourself from “most people land” and stop doing it. Instead, when you feel negative words rising, make it a habit of asking the people around you for their best piece of advice.

Once you’ve asked them about their advice, move onto book recommendations or important lessons they learned from their mentors. Quality conversations lead to quality relationships. So do yourself a favor and kick them off by asking quality questions.

My father-in-law got it dead right, “Positivity is a choice.”

Stop thinking about what makes you special and start spotlighting the special in others:

Human beings can be complicated, no argument here. But deep down we are actually quite simple. We want to be acknowledged and we want to be respected. So stop obsessing over what makes you worthy of acknowledgement and start giving people what they want.

Compliment people on their new opportunities. Show them you care by following-up on the things they are working on. Make it a point to notice something new about them. Relationships are sealed in the details. So stop focusing on what makes you special and start paying attention to how special the people around you are.

My wife got it dead right — “There isn’t a lack of beauty in the world, just a lack of people looking for it.”

Share the work of the people you are jealous of:

Few things impede our progress regarding the relationship we have with ourselves, and the relationships we have with others, more than jealousy. And everyone has an opinion on how to curb it.

From my experience the easiest way to do so is by making a choice to openly support the work of the very people you envy. This is because it’s hard to be jealous of someone you are proactively taking the time to promote.

The next time you feel jealousy rising, stop, accept it and then take 30 seconds to blast the message of the person you are jealous of around the world. You may be surprised at how liberating this simple action can feel.

My friend John Mashni got it dead right — “Successful people don’t sit around all day comparing themselves to others. They are too busy lifting people up.”

A very wise man defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Don’t let your relationships drive you insane and mix things up by embracing the power of the little switches listed above.

If you want someone to like you — tell them how much you like them.

If you want to people to care about what you are doing — make it known how much you care about what they’re doing.

The quality of our lives are measured by the quality of our relationships. So if you want to create better ones, give these little switches a shot.

You may be surprised how big of a difference they can make.

The future belongs to the kind.

I almost forgot—leaving pieces of fruit around the house instead of cookies will do wonders for your relationships as well. This is for the simple fact it’s hard to be impatient with your partner or yell at your kid after eating a piece of pineapple.